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- Nursery Safety Tips
Nursery Safety Tips
- Photo: sheknows.com
Outlet covers are often one of the first things parents buy when they’re safety proofing their home. Here are just some of the many options available today:
- Outlet caps: The cheapest and easiest solution, these plastic caps simply slide into the exposed outlet, blocking little ones from sticking in fingers or foreign objects. These work well for babies’ rooms, but as toddlers watch you remove them and gain manual dexterity, they may figure out who to work these covers. OneStepAhead designs outlet caps that are larger so they’re less of a choking hazard, but it’s still prudent to make sure these aren’t left loose within a child’s reach.
- Plug adapter and cover: Want full coverage for outlets where something is plugged in? This boxy adapter provides that as well as a cord-shortening device to reduce cord hazards.
- Universal outlet covers: These outlet covers are often found in commercial settings like doctors’ offices or play areas because of their effectiveness and convenience. These are easily installed in minutes with just a screwdriver, and they keep little fingers out of sockets while allowing adults to plug in needed items.
- Power strip cover: If you have an outlet shortage and must use a power strip in your child’s room (or anywhere else in the house), these covers are a great way to keep your littlest family members safe. They snap over the entire power strip and are a cinch for an adult to remove, but they will stymie curious little fingers looking for trouble.
Also, be aware of cords from outlets snaking around a baby’s room. Not only do they pose tripping hazards, they also make the outlets more attractive.
Can’t figure out what you need for your house or want to simplify shopping? The Child Safety Kit from CableOrganizer.com offers several different electrical -- and other -- safety solutions in one package.
Changing Table Safety
The changing table can be a hidden danger spot in many nurseries, says Schaefer-Wilson. “Parents sometimes leave kids [unattended who] they think can’t roll off, but they will surprise you,” she says. “Children have fallen off changing tables and died.”
Appy points out that the safety straps on changing pads should not be ignored. They wouldn’t be there if someone hadn’t been hurt before, she says.
Also, be cautious about the baby care items you leave in the area. “Never leave an oil or a powder on the changing table,” says Schaefer-Wilson. “If a child ingests the oil, they can’t get it out of their lungs and they can actually suffocate that way.” She says powders and other creams should also be kept out of reach, preferably stored away in a medicine cabinet that isn’t in the baby’s room. For ease of use, however, try installing wall shelving high above the changing table where the child -- even a standing toddler -- can’t reach.
Safe and Secure Furniture
One subject that has been gaining attention as a safety hazard is furniture tips and falls. It’s garnering more attention for good reason, says Schaefer-Wilson: “Think about it -- what does a child do when they want to get to something on a dresser?” she asks. “They open the bottom drawer and they step in.”
She says just opening all of the drawers on the dresser, if the drawers are full, can cause a tall piece of furniture to tip over. She also warns that in any room, putting a television on top of a dresser is a bad idea because kids can climb anywhere, and television falls have been associated with many tragic tipping deaths.
Furniture straps are an essential ingredient in any nursery, she says, and they should be installed before the child is old enough to climb. “[Children will climb] as soon as they can, which is going to be earlier than you think,” she says.
Because babies’ systems are still developing and they breathe at a faster rate than older children and adults, it’s especially important to ensure the indoor air in your home, and specifically in your child’s nursery, is healthy.
One way to ensure better air quality for your whole house is to buy an air filter specifically designed to trap harmful particles like formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), like the SafeHome air filter. “It is sad that many of the exciting steps taken to prepare for a child’s arrival, from painting walls to moving into a larger home, can be detrimental to their health,” company president Sam McLamb says.
Beyond filtering out harmful air quality problems, you can help your child by choosing “green” items and practices. Natural and organic mattresses are a great choice since the fire retardants used in conventional mattresses contain many harmful chemicals. “We decided to go with a natural mattress after we shopped and realized the regular ones were recommending they be aired out before being used,” McLamb says. “The recommendations to leave vinyl mattresses outside for two weeks before use were not comforting.”
If you’re painting a room, choose low- or no-VOC paints, and have your home checked for radon, lead and mercury by an environmental inspector. If you’re worried about allergies, add a mold inspection to the list. You and your baby will breathe easier because of it.
Odds and Ends
Some other things to consider:
- Appy emphasizes that parents often worry about babies getting cold, but it’s been shown that if the adult is comfortable with the temperature, the baby is, too. In fact, she says new research shows the safest temperature for a sleeping baby is between sixty-eight to seventy-two degrees. “And it should never get above seventy-five degrees in a nursery,” she says.
- Loose floor rugs may look pretty, but they can be a tripping hazard, especially when you’re dealing with a baby that often wakes in the middle of the night.
- Make sure furniture hasn’t been recalled, and reconsider using “vintage” pieces -- they may pose risks you haven’t considered. Old toy boxes aren’t designed to open from the inside, so toddlers can become trapped and suffocate, for example. All newer designs come with a feature that allows them to open safely. Never use an old crib, either, because it may not be stable and the slats may be far enough apart to allow child entrapment and strangulation.
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